Sunday, October 10, 2010

She ain't no Martha Stewart and he ain't no Chef Ramsay

Our guest today is Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif). She's a wonderful writer, a wonderful friend, and just our type. :)

Take it away, Cherish!

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Thank you so much for having me guest on Fatal Foodies during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour, which lunches―I mean, launches―my contemporary romantic suspense, Lancelot's Lady. Today I'm going to talk about characters who cook, and I'm not talking about in the bedroom.

Cooking can be a hurried rush of things found in the fridge thrown into a pot and well burned or an intricately planned menu with complementing wine created by a masterful cook. It can be one character knowing how to make fifty things out of hamburger or another character that shops for the finest fresh seafood and makes homemade sauces. Either way, adding this element to the development of a character can tell us a lot about that character.

Imagine reading about a female character who doesn't know how to do much more than toast bread. She ain't no Martha Stewart. Imagine her then inviting Mr. Right over for dinner and hoping to impress him. She probably burns the pot roast. Or maybe she orders in and tries to pass it off as her creation. Or maybe her best friend cooks it for her and she passes it off as her own creation.

The above situation could result in a very humorous situation. She burns the roast, smoke fills the air and Mr. Right arrives to a small kitchen fire and saves the day, while the protagonist ends up with a sooty face and a black lump of coal stuck to a pan. We'd laugh, wouldn't we? Or Mr. Right loves her (friend's) cooking so much that he asks her to cook for some event. Uh oh! Now she's in trouble.

Now imagine that the roles are reversed and he can't cook. He ain't no Chef Ramsay. He tries to cook that same blasted roast and has the same result. She arrives in time to witness the fire trucks leaving the area. She finds him standing in his kitchen holding the charcoaled lump of roast. Endearing, isn't it? Hey, at least he tried! Now they'll have to go out to some fancy restaurant. Oh, darn...

Imagine Mr. Right is the finest self-taught Chef. Maybe he's got all of Chef Ramsey's cookbooks. He prepares the most perfect meal for the heroine. And damn, is she impressed! Perfectly seasoned steak, mashed potatoes whipped to perfection, sautéed asparagus with a cranberry and white wine reduction sauce and chocolate covered strawberries, hand dipped by him, for dessert. Oh, and don't forget the fresh whip cream. Yeah, I'll have one of him to go.

Now imagine he can't cook, but she's a wonderful chef. She prepares a dinner of roasted chicken and almond and cranberry stuffing with fresh herbs, plus a salad of garden fresh vegetables with a homemade balsamic fig dressing. Dessert is chocolate mousse with grated dark chocolate on top. He arrives and is indeed impressed. This woman's a "keeper".

We read romance because of the fantasy. We enjoy the romantic journey. And most readers enjoy characters that are flawed, and a bad cook would certainly be a flaw in my book (pun intended). But whether a character can cook or not, each situation creates a more rounded character and can lead to some interesting situations. Personally, I find it hugely entertaining to write a scene about a bad cook.

Now I must leave. My husband has made his famous "Marc's Surprise" for dinner. I'll be honest with you, it's no surprise. It's almost the only thing he can cook besides barbecue. But Marc's a keeper, even though he ain't no Chef Ramsay. Who says a gal needs a guy who can cook? That's what restaurants are for.

Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

Do you think you're a good cook? In the kitchen, I mean.

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.


Anonymous said...

Fun post :).

I love romance books with foodie themes and liked your scenarios :).

I actually am a good cook - I think anyway. I love to cook nd try preparing new foods. Clean up is another story...

Pam S
pams00 @

Cheryl Tardif said...

I hear ya on the clean up, Pam!! lol

I heard something years ago...

A messy kitchen after a prepared meal is a sign of a very good cook. She's more into making that meal perfect than worrying about cleaning up the spatter or dishes.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!!!


Tammy said...

I love it when a book (romance or any other fiction) has a character that loves to cook or bake. It makes it even better when the description of said culinary skills is spot on. I've developed a fondness for culinary mysteries. I get a good read, most times a good laugh or two and, quite often, a recipe that's a keeper for my handwritten cookbook.

Keep writing those beautiful books filled with such fantastic imagery-
tammy_j_castleberry at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

How funny on the timing of this post. :) I was writing last night, and apparently my hero is a chef! Not in profession, but he's damn good at making food, which isn't on the top of my heroine's to-do list. :) I'm looking forward to seeing where his talent takes them.

jmfictionscribe at

Cheryl Tardif said...

Tammy, I've read some great culinary mysteries too. They're a lot of fun. :-)

Jaime, I always say things happen for a reason, so timing is everything. I hope you feel inspired to get that hero cooking--in the kitchen or elsewhere. lol


Anonymous said...

Certainly. ;)

Sarah Coulsey said...

You cant go wrong with food!!!

I am playing catch up!! I had a wedding to go to and got behind. Sometimes even stalkers take a break!!!

P.s Thank you for stalking me!!!

sarahcoulsey03 at gmail dot com

Gayle said...

Your book sounds great! Thanks for stopping by the Fatal Foodies kitchen, Cheryl. :)